How to cut the cord for people who hate paying the cable bill but love their TV shows…
It's 2016 and cable companies are still nickel and diming us for literally everything. Specifically? Being damn loyal! WTF is up with that?! Can I get a punch card for every 5 years I pay for cable, I get the 6th year free?
Why has every single internet and cable company set up a package that seems to work in deceivingly backwards ways?
Sign up and we'll give you an internet package with free amazing HBO and HD channels for free.
But wait, stay with us for a full year and you get to pay DOUBLE!
Sure, you might get a decent discount or get set back up with the introductory rate if you're up for wasting 90 minutes of your life on the phone with the cable company and their retention department. (This actually never seems to work for me. I need to take my own negotiating advice when it comes to this tactic.)
But for all of us, I'd rather eat glass than call the cable company-people, there has to be an alternative.
Good News – There is an alternative to cable
… pretty much.
You may have to sacrifice a few channels here and there (buh-bye Bravo), but for the most part, you can watch a lot of TV for a lot less if you get crafty.
Here are my favorite cable alternatives. Mix ‘n Match what you will and it will still be less expensive than your $100+ monthly cable bill. (woof)
Best Cable Alternatives:
I don't know anyone who doesn't love a good Netflix and Chill…. errr Netflix + Messy Bun + Sweatpants, let's be real.
Netflix streaming has come a long way from the extremely outdated, never-heard-of movies they used to offer.
With their own mega popular shows, plus a handful of past seasons from current running primetime shows (cough: my recent obsession to all the past seasons of Scandal) Netflix is becoming the new black.
Cost: At a whopping $7.99 per month (plus the bonus of your first month free – holla free things!) Netflix can fulfill all your binge-watching needs.
Amazon Prime Video
For a long while, I didn't really dig into Amazon Prime Video. I mean… they were kinda like Netflix in that awkward “nothing to stream” phase. But I always had it because… Free 2-day Shipping.
However, much like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video is becoming a big dawg in the “we create our own bomb-ass TV series” and I'm liking it.
Because… I'm paying the same annual fee and still getting Free 2-day Shipping.
Check out Mozart in the Jungle or The Man in the High Castle. I'm also hearing great things about Transparent.
Cost: Get a month of Prime for FREE with my link and guys… have I mentioned FREE 2-day SHIPPING?! After your free month, pay $99 a year ($8.34 per month) or you could just pay $10 per month, but common. [If you're a college student or have an .edu email address get prime for $49 per year!]
Of course, you can kick it semi-old school and hook up that old digital antenna (what was once the ever-stylish rabbit ears).
Get yourself a digital antenna for a one-time payment of around $20 and get access to watch local news stations and major networks like ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and PBS. (You can check which channels you'll have access to by entering your zip code here.)
For us millennials, the digital antenna does have its drawbacks. For instance, I don't know anyone who sets a timer to watch their favorite shows live anymore. It's just not part of our lifestyle. And there are definitely shows that we must watch, but the antenna just won't get.
However, if you're a morning news junkie (like me) or just like having something on while you cook and clean at night, a digital antenna is an extremely affordable way to go–especially if you live in an area where you could pick up to 50 channels.
Cost: A wide range of antennas are available online. I don't have one, but some friends swear by this one (which is under $17).
Although the digital antenna can give you a lot of access to primetime sports and local or national news, it doesn't always make the cut when your favorite team is on ESPN or you're a little too obsessed with Food Network.
That's where Sling comes in.
Sling gives you access to live TV with better options than your digital antenna can offer and at a wayyy more discounted rate than the damn cable company.
You get to pick your package of 20, 40 or All channels, plus you can add additional $5 packages that include the SEC Network (if you went to school in the Southeast) or Lifetime Movie (if you're my mom during Christmas time).
Cost: Get a 7-day free trial then pay by your package. 25+ Channels – $20 per month. 40+ Channels – $25 per month. All Channels – $40 per month. Add what you need for an additional $5 per month. **(Right now if you sign up you can get a Free Roku 2 or 50% off a Roku 3 and other deals to get Sling onto your TV. Find details on the bottom of their website.)
Hulu has some ground to make up if it wants to compete with Netflix and Prime. (I mean… those ads have gotta go!) But it is a great place to get those current season episodes ASAP.
How else do you think my “bookclub” friends and I watch ABC's The Bachelor every week without cable? (Hint: Hulu + Host viewings one day after the air date)
Hulu appears to have some exclusive Hulu Originals and a special Showtime offer too.
Cost: Another 30-day free trial and then pay $7.99 per month for your basic Hulu setup. Pay an extra $4 per month for no commercials.
For all you G.O.T. (Game of Thrones) lovers, it's probably pretty impossible to cut the cord with your cable provider unless you can take your HBO with you.
Well, now you can. With HBO NOW, you can pay a monthly subscription to get access to your favorite HBO shows. See ya cable.
Cost: 1-month free trial (although, they say *typically so you might want to double-check).
There's also the sports bar for live sports and the social aspect, a friends house for viewing parties (hellooo Bachelor/ette and Scandal!) and other ways you can get inventive to get your TV without paying a bill.
Take one of these alternatives or take a few.
Heck, bum a login off a friend or ask your parents to add you to their Netflix or Prime (that's legal y'know).
I don't care how you do it, but stop paying those ridiculous prices for cable.
After all, we're in our 20s, we don't have time to watch commercials, scan through hundreds of channels we don't need, or sit on the phone with the cable company negotiating our rate.
(Unless you love paying your bill or you love that yearly negotiating call. Then by all means, be my guest!)
Just do something that will make you feel good. For me? It's not having cable (for the past 7 years of my life), getting together with friends to watch my favorite shows, watching Netflix which my parents so lovingly share with my entire adult family, and heading to my boyfriend's favorite bar where my college sports team has a dedicated TV thanks to one loyal bartender and fan.
So what do you do? Do you pay full price for cable? Heckle the cable guy annually? Or have you completely canceled it all? Share with me your experience on cutting the cord in the comments below – I'd love to hear!